Special Coverage of 9/11 - How a Day of Infamy Changed the World

Sunday, September 11th, 2011
Wall Street adorned with US flags

NYC's Wall Street draped in US flags

In the following articles, The Caravan examines the impact of the war on those who fought it, civilians in the US and elsewhere, the effects on international travel, trade and diplomacy. We will be updating a series of articles on 9/11 this week.

On September 11, 2001 two hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center in New York City. A few minutes later, as shocked Americans watched their screens in disbelief, the two towers came crumbling down sending tons of ash and debris for blocks.

A short time later, another hijacked plane flew into the Pentagon. A fourth, was brought down short of its alleged target - the White House.

In that span of a few hours, the lives of Americans - and soon of everyone on the planet - changed.

In less than a day, US officials spoke of the little-known Taliban and Al-Qaeda, a terrorist organization led by a former US ally in the 1980s - Osama bin Laden, as the masterminds of the attack. The US military began to draw up plans to invade Afghanistan, rout the Taliban and pursue Al-Qaeda.

A month later - with the approval of the UN Security Council - the US invaded Afghanistan, unseated the Taliban, replaced it with a friendly government and entered a decade of perpetual war. Although bin Laden was killed last May, the US and its Nato partners appear to be bogged down in a war that has not abated and has cost the deaths of tens of thousands of Afghanistan citizens.

The world stood behind the US and its people. But when the administration of US President George Bush began to draw up plans to invade and occupy Iraq as part of its global war on terrorism, the mood shifted.

The Bush administration insisted that Iraq had ties to Al-Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction. It also cited regime change as an auxiliary reason to invade Iraq. This time, when the UNSC refused to endorse such a move - largely due to protestations from Canada, France, Russia, and China - the US and its partner the UK assembled a Coalition of the Willing.

Iraq was occupied on April 9. In the eight years since, the reasons for invading Iraq have been largely discredited. The civilian death toll ranges from 125,000 to 1.5 million, depending on which study you believe. More than 4,470 US soldiers have died, with an additional tens of thousands maimed and injured.

In the following articles, The Caravan examines the impact of the war on those who fought it, civilians in the US and elsewhere, the effects on international travel, trade and diplomacy. We will be updating a series of articles on 9/11 this week.

Ten years later, Americans still feel the pain of 9/11

An American soldier's recollection of 9/11

A decade later, Iraq and Afghanistan remain in turmoil

Despite 'arduous' visa process post-9/11, US still a popular collegiate destinations